Britology Watch: Deconstructing \’British Values\’

30 October 2007

Why CAN’T Gordon Brown say ‘England’?

There’s a petition on the Downing Street website at the moment, organised by supporters of an English parliament, which urges the prime minister to actually say ‘England’, rather than ‘the country’ or ‘our country’ (or even ‘Britain’), when he means England: when he refers to matters such as health, education and housing where (as a result of devolution for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) his ‘competence’ (to use an EU-speak term) or area of responsibility is in fact limited to England. But he can’t bring himself to do so as his recent ‘Brit-eulogy’ at the Labour Party conference and his inability to praise the England rugby team on behalf of England testified.

Why can’t our prime minister acknowledge or speak on behalf of the country that makes up 85% of the population of the nation he supposedly leads? This is more than a matter of semantics. The answer to this question goes to the heart of the identity of ‘our nation’; of Scots’ continuing engagement with it post-devolution and after a possible full independence; and of the survival, or not, of the Union if the Scots did set off on their own.

First, let’s recap a bit of history. If you took only the words of Gordon Brown [or GB as I like to call him: if he can’t refer to a country by its name but can talk only of ‘Britain’, I won’t refer to him by his name and will just call him ‘GB’ – the personification of Britain, indeed], then ‘our country’ is Britain. But Britain or Great Britain does not exist as a nation. There was a nation called Great Britain (more fully, the ‘Kingdom of Great Britain’; also informally known as the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’) that was established by the Act of Union between the Kingdoms of England (which incorporated the principality of Wales) and Scotland in 1707. This nation or state lasted only 93 years till the further Act of Union between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland in 1800. This established the name of the state as the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland’. This in turn was given its present name of ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’ in 1927 to reflect the reality of Irish partition and independence.

This latter event creates a historical precedent for what would presumably happen if the Scots became an independent nation before some solution changing the constitutional relationships between all the countries of the UK was reached. As the Union that is the UK encompasses more than just the union of England and Scotland but also two other unions (the union of England and Wales that existed since the 13th century, and the union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), these two other unions would remain in effect, albeit altered, if Scotland left. This would in fact see the demise of ‘Great Britain’ (and by extension, ‘Britain’) as a name for the continuing state. But we would still have a United Kingdom: ‘United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland’, maybe. That is, until the probably inevitable further break up of such a unitary state into three more independent or federal nations!

Or would we? The on-off New Labour plans to break up England into a number of regions of comparable size to Scotland and Wales could be a way to pre-empt the break up of ‘Britain’ / ‘Great Britain’ by creating a ‘Britain of nations [Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland] and regions [the ‘former England’]’, as it’s been called. If Scotland were to break off from such a ‘Britain’, this could then be construed as a de facto region of Britain establishing itself as a separate nation. The continuing ‘British nation’ could then be named something like the ‘United Kingdom of Britain [not Great Britain any more with Scotland no longer in it], Wales and Northern Ireland’; or, hell, why not just go the whole hog and call it the ‘United Kingdom of Britain’ (‘Britain’ for short) – because if there’s no administrative difference between the regions of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (as they’re all run by devolved assemblies), there’s no reason to acknowledge any of them separately in the name of the state. Welsh and Northern Irish people could still informally refer to their countries as if they were nations; but well, England, you’ve always been proud of your history, and now that’s all you are!

Is this just a fantasy or, rather, nightmare scenario? Well, the total inability of GB to officially acknowledge the existence of an entity we like to call England isn’t reassuring at a time when he’s carrying out a constitutional reform process which – we learnt last week – will enshrine long-established British (yes, it’s that word again) principles of rights and responsibilities. And there’s a more well founded basis for these fears based on, yes, history again.

This is that England, like Great Britain, does not officially exist as a nation. It’s just that England ceased to exist from the Act of Union with Scotland in 1707 (becoming Great Britain, as above); and Great Britain ceased to exist as a stand-alone entity (albeit it’s included in the name of the state) in 1800 with the union with Ireland. Scotland’s leaving [Great] Britain doesn’t of itself re-create an England: it would just leave a United Kingdom of Britain that – if England had not been granted devolution prior to Scotland’s independence – would in fact officially be more like the regionalised-England model: a United Kingdom defined and named officially as a Britain with certain powers devolved to two ‘countries’ and a number of regions.

In other words, the Britologists’ or British nationalists’ view would appear to boil down to the statement, ‘if England does not exist (as it doesn’t now, officially), why go to the trouble of creating a “new” nation called England – either prior to full Scottish independence or after it – if we can preserve a unitary state under its ‘existing’ (unofficial) banner of “Britain”?’ For these people, the Union / UK is synonymous with ‘Britain’; and so is England – for them – as England (sub)merged its identity, through the Union of Scotland, with that of Great Britain. From this perspective, any (re-)establishment of a separate entity called England would indeed represent the de-construction of the Union: its splitting into a separate England and Scotland.

But this is not true: the Union is greater than the Union between England and Scotland alone. As indicated above, it also incorporates a more long-standing union between England and Wales, and a union between a Great Britain including England and Wales with Northern Ireland. So the establishment of a distinct political and national identity for England – whether in the context of Scottish independence or not – in no way intrinsically subverts the Union / UK. It’s just that if Scotland but not the other nations broke off, it could be re-named, as I’ve suggested, the ‘United [and / or Federal] Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland’; with the continuing participation of Scotland, this could be the ‘United [Federal] Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’. But both scenarios do indeed do away with a unitary ‘Great Britain’ or ‘Britain’, which hasn’t officially existed since 1800 in any case. So it’s not the Union that is threatened by English devolution and / or Scottish independence, but Britain.

So why do the supposed ‘Britological’ (Brit-illogical) defenders of the Union want to perpetuate the lie(s) that a) Britain is a nation (it’s not; the UK is); b) that the Union means Britain (which it doesn’t); and that c) ‘England’ doesn’t exist (i.e. that it’s – officially – only a nameless part of [Great] Britain)? To some extent, these myths could be characterised as a delusion as much as they are a deception. English people have historically, and until quite recent times, merged and conflated the English and British national identities: England did invest its identity and ambitions into ‘Great Britain’ through the Union and the Empire. The realisation that the days of a ‘great’ Britain – of a Britain as a major world power – are long gone is something that the leaders and people of England will have no escape from in a devolved or fully independent England. Tony Blair tried to stoke up this truly megalomaniac delusion of Britain the World Power in order to keep the myth of Britain as the Union and Nation going for a bit longer after the body blow he dealt it through the uneven devolution settlement. But England’s greatness is based on more than the achievements of Great Britain, and England will find, and can only find, renewed confidence and purpose when it is able to forge a new direction in its own name.

That’s if the Britologists let her. Because the other side of the British coin is continuing Scottish engagement in – as opposed to English identification with – the Union that is mis-named Britain. The Scots have never truly bought into ‘Britain’ as the English did. For them, it was always a convenient name for a tie up with England, indeed a marriage of convenience with England; in which using the name ‘Great Britain’ is a way to pretend that it’s a marriage of equals and a true union (the creation of a new merged entity from two formerly separate entities), rather than what it effectively was: an English take-over of Scotland. Better for Scots’ pride – and what a reflection, it could be argued, on English diplomacy and self-effacement – to call it ‘Great Britain’ rather than ‘Greater England’! It could have been called something like that. After all, the expanded English kingdom incorporating Wales from 1284 had been simply called ‘England’.

Historically, Scots have been committed to ‘Great Britain’ essentially through perceived self-interest. Political union with England enabled the Scottish people and nation to benefit from, and share in creating, the wealth of the British Empire. But both before and after that flowering of English civilisation, the establishment of Great Britain has enabled Scots to participate, in a surrogate manner, in the public life of a greater nation than Scotland alone (if greatness is measured in terms of political and economic power, and cultural influence); indeed, it has enabled Scots to exercise political power over, and shape the whole body politic of, England-Britain. Until devolution (fair play), this was, after all, the only way Scots people could also have any political influence over their own nation, since Scotland was (and England still is) ruled by the UK parliament and executive.

So, to some extent, the Union of England and Scotland (one of the three unions from which the UK was created) has persisted so long because it enabled Scots to ‘punch above their weight’, both nationally and internationally. One wonders to what extent the Scot Tony Blair’s insistence that Britain should try to keep punching above its weight on the international stage had anything to do with the realisation of how little influence Scotland, as opposed to England, would have in the world as an independent country, compared with the as yet not entirely extinguished glamour of British imperial power.

An independent Scotland would indeed be a bit-part player: comparable, in economic scale and geo-political affinity, with the likes of Norway and the other Nordic states, and Ireland. The Republic of Scotland might well eventually become a wealthy country, as Alex Salmond was saying at the SNP conference over the weekend, just like these Northern European peers; but not a powerful one. By contrast, England would continue to belong at the European top table alongside the likes of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland; and most likely, it would still sit at the global top table that is the United Nations Security Council, next to its US friend and ally.

The economic wealth and political power enjoyed by ‘the country’ would therefore not be fundamentally compromised by a break up of ‘the Union’ (of Britain, that is, not the UK), which Britologists claim would be the consequence of Scottish independence or English devolution. Indeed, in many respects, greater separation and autonomy for England and Scotland (whether full independence for both countries, or a looser relationship as part of a federal UK; or a federal UK minus Scotland) might in fact be the trigger for a rejuvenation of both countries’ economic and cultural life, and international relations. Certainly, freeing England from the disproportionate tax burden it carries on behalf of Scotland and Wales under the Barnett Formula could provide a major kick-start to its economy.

But – and here’s the rub – a devolved or independent England would leave the Labour Party unable ever to regain absolute power over England: the truly ‘great’ and certainly greater part of the Great Britain over which that party stands zealous guard. And it would leave Scottish and Welsh MPs (a greater proportion of whom are Labour than in England) bereft of their traditional role in influencing English affairs. As these are now separated from Scottish and Welsh domestic matters, these MPs can participate in making decisions on English laws and policies with apparent legitimacy only if these are termed British matters, not English.

But beyond this present political anomaly, referred to as the West Lothian Question, there is a fundamental question of national identity. [Funny that GB should be so keen to press on with plans for a British identity card system!] If our national identities were defined as English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish – rather than British – and if there were devolved and / or independent parliamentary bodies answerable to the people who call themselves English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish, then not only the justification but the reality of Scottish people exercising political power over England in the name of Great Britain disappears. If the nations of the UK separate (if only to re-group in a federation), you no longer have Britain: the Union between England and Scotland. If you no longer have that, you have no possibility for Scottish people to be at the centre of power of a greater nation than Scotland alone. GB would have to pack his bags and go home from a global capital city to little old Kirkcaldy.

Better to pretend, then, that Britain still exists. ‘Still’? It doesn’t and never did; at least, not since 1800. But at least the name Britain is included in the name of the nation. And in that name, it’s still possible to wield disproportionate power over an English electorate that have not voted for you.

What do I say ‘England’? England, too, does not officially exist and hasn’t done so for longer than Great Britain; of course, how silly of me to forget! (Scotland and Wales have been allowed to return to official existence; but that leaves British regions, not England, doesn’t it?) But better not even whisper the name of England; otherwise, you might summon up the sleeping giant into existence, and then the whisker-thin justification for your power will disappear into a puff of spin. What better way to continue with the myth of Britain and the disproportionate system of power it props up than to pretend that Britain does exist, and England doesn’t? And even to enshrine that pretence in a new constitutional settlement that, by regionalising it, will do away with England once and for all?

So GB can rule only in the name of GB. His whole political identity is defined in terms of that mythical entity known fallaciously as Britain. His political identity, that is; don’t worry, he’s not going to deny his national identity as a Scot. There are Brits and Scots (not English); and because he’s both, he can exercise power over England (correction: Britain).

GB might represent Britain; but he doesn’t and cannot represent, in the office of prime minister, an England whose very existence he does not and cannot acknowledge. And that is why he can neither speak for England nor of her.

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18 Comments »

  1. […] the existence of an unofficial country that could threaten the continuance of the Union (see last post), then doesn’t the media have a duty to do so? By which I mean broadsheet newspapers and the […]

    Pingback by If Gordon Brown can’t say England, the media should « Britology Watch: Deconstructing ‘British Values’ — 31 October 2007 @ 6.31 am | Reply

  2. […] Britology Watch: Why CAN’T Gordon Brown say ‘England’? […]

    Pingback by CEP News Blog » Blog Archive » He dare not speak its name — 31 October 2007 @ 12.50 pm | Reply

  3. Why?, because hes an anti-English communist Scot who rules ONLY England, and if he mentions the word ‘England’ than the general English populace, those who dont already realise, will realise that this inept scottish buffoon rules ONLY England and is intent on carving it up for a foreign power, the EUSSR, to rule.

    Comment by Steve — 31 October 2007 @ 1.01 pm | Reply

  4. If he says the E word then he wont be able to waffle on about “the country”, Britain, British values (he means English values), and the British nation. Ha! ha! Who is part of the British nation when we are either English, welsh or scottish?

    Steve took the words right out of my mouth!

    Comment by M Anderson — 2 November 2007 @ 4.42 am | Reply

  5. Scotland did not benefit from the Union as it should have. Scotland was in fact forced into Union with England because England put trade sanctions on Scotland and prevented her from establishing trans-Atlantic trade. When ever Scotland sent a merchant ship out to sea the English navy would intercept it and try to prevent trade and connection between Scotland and North America in order to damage her economy. England was at this time making a great number of enemies due to her expansionism and aggression, eventually Scotland had no choice but to sign the Act of Union. The Scottish people petitioned the Scottish government to not sign the Act of Union, but when they did sign there was a great deal of anxiety among the Scottish people that the Union would bring them under English Imperial rule.

    After a while many Scotsmen helped other countries fight English colonialism, such as John Paul Jones. Scotland has never really benefited from the Union in an equal manner, and still today she suffers more unfair treatment than ever before since the Act of Union. Now Scotlands natural resources are plundered by England and used to build upon the wealth of London and the south east. During the Thatcher years, the British government was almost completely dependent on Scottish oil while traditional industries and their unions were being crushed. Scottish money built London into the modern metropolis it now is. Canary Wharf is possibly there due to Scottish money, and it must be noted that over the last 30 years Scotland has payed more in tax to the UK government than England, Wales or Northern Ireland. This fact was placed under the official secrets act and was only released by law in 2005 confirming what the SNP have been claiming for many years now.

    Without Scotland in the Union, England will fall from the worlds 11th richest nation to below the 20th, which Scotland rises to possibly 6th or 7th richest in the world. This has been projected by economists from the United Nations who have already reserved a seat for Scotland should she become independent. If Scotland is to become independent she would be better off chosing to do so as soon as possible in order to protect her remaining resources from English theft. 65% of the North Sea Oil remains under the sea bed, which currently brings in £13 billion a year to the London economy. Not a single penny of this Scottish money is spent in Scotland, instead Scotland has been given the Barnett Formula, which is an £8 billion a year allowance for public spending. Scotland does ofcourse get more money for public spending than England but England recieves more for international investment and businesses, which inturn makes their economy stronger than Scotlands. The Barnett Formula may arguably be a form of compensation for the theft of Scottish North Sea Oil, which if controlled by Scotland would bring in much more money than she is currently given by the UK government. This is one of many reasons that the Union is not fair on Scotland and only serves to hold her back from being the properous nation that she should be. Norway is currently the most prosperous country in the world and there is no reason Scotland can not follow in Norways footsteps. In order for the quality of life, business and industry to prosper in Scotland she must first vote for independence. The SNP are a stepping stone to independence, and it may be concievable that after independence is achieved the Scottish people will elect a more competent government to run their independent nation.

    Scotland is currently one of the poorest nations in Western Europe due to Englands theft of her natural resources and political decicisions, which more often than not ignore Scotland completely and not allow her a fair share of the UK’s prosperity. Independence is the only solution to reviving Scotlands economy and making her the rich nation that she naturaly is. The cost of independence will be very little to Scotland, but it will be expensive for England as she will have to surrender all Scottish resources and a portion of the army, navy and airforce including weapons, ships, planes and military bases. This will no doubt shatter Englands economy for many years, but eventually she would recover with aid and subsidies from the EU.

    Quite simply, Scotland must vote for independence if her people want to see a change and rise in quality of life. If a referendum does occur in 2010 it will be in Scotlands best interest to vote YES for independence as she may not get the chance again. Time is running out and so are Scottish resources, so independence must be achieved as soon as possible if she wishes to get a good start and prosper through her own resources. International investment will be everywhere in Scotland especially as other larger and richer nations are always keen to invest in newly formed republics and independent coutries. Examples can be see all over Europe, so let us pray Scotland makes the right decision and votes YES for independence when the time comes.

    Comment by Mr McLaren — 13 November 2007 @ 7.38 pm | Reply

  6. ‘So it’s not the Union that is threatened by English devolution and / or Scottish independence, but Britain.’

    This is the first blog I have seen which attempts to indicate the distinction between the United Kingdom and Great Britain (Britain). Confusion and misunderstanding about the status of of both means that clarification about them is important.

    1. ‘…on 25 March 1603, James VI of Scotland became James I of England. It was a purely personal union. There were still two kingdoms, each with its own parliament, administration, church and legal system…He did assume the title King of Great Britain…’

    (There are still two kingdoms to this day.)

    Source: ‘Scotland: The Shaping of a Nation’ by Gordon Donaldson, ISBN 0 7153 6904 0, pp. 46 – 47.

    2. United Kingdom (UK) is a descriptive term for the territory of which it is comprised – Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is also a royal term in the sense that it denotes that these were once all or part of separate realms (Wales became part of the realm of England firstly by the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284 then formally by a statute of the English Parliament in 1536).

    3. Great Britain, comprising of England and Scotland is a political entity.

    A vote in Scotland for independence would effectively mean that the state of great Britain had ceased to exist. The United Kingdom would continue to exist as it is only the political entity that is Great Britain that the SNP seeks to end.

    Comment by Michael Follon — 13 November 2007 @ 10.30 pm | Reply

  7. Thanks for your comment above, Mr McLaren. The oil revenues issue is indeed rarely mentioned on the southern side of the border. Perhaps it is a more significant factor behind English/British resistance to Scottish independence than is generally admitted. In England, the injustice tends to be perceived as being the other way round: Scotland getting more of the tax revenues per head of population in public expenditure, effectively as a bribe to keep the Union going. I’m not sure if I agree with your economic analysis; but there certainly would be difficult economic consequences for England if Scotland went her own way.

    Like a growing number of English people, I’m sympathetic to the cause of Scottish independence. At least, it would give England a chance to shape her destiny as a distinct nation.

    Comment by David — 14 November 2007 @ 6.02 am | Reply

  8. Re above comment by Michael Follon, are you implying that, post-independence, Scotland would remain a monarchy, i.e. would still have the UK king or queen as its head of state? This would presumably be a return to the personal union of England’s and Scotland’s monarchs that existed for 100 years or so before the political union of Great Britain. I’ve not heard it being presented like this; I sort of assumed SNP policy was for a Scottish Republic.

    Comment by David — 14 November 2007 @ 6.06 am | Reply

  9. David,

    In response to your question concerning the previous comment made by me the answer is YES – absolutely. Whether or not an independent Scotland was to become a republic after independence would be the subject of a referendum in line with Scottish constitutional law which is that sovereignty rests with the people (Popular Sovereignty). The SNP deliberately does not have a policy on this issue as the aim is to achieve independence.

    Comment by Michael Follon — 14 November 2007 @ 5.03 pm | Reply

  10. Thanks for your reply, Michael. You learn something every day!

    Comment by David — 14 November 2007 @ 6.31 pm | Reply

  11. Brown refusing to say England is like one of them stick your fingers up at the foreigners type things. I bet he has a vindictive little grin inside everytime he says it or in this case refuses to say it. I have seen this pathetic chippy attitude down the boozer on many occasions. I am sure you have to You know, whenever there’s a jock within 5o feet.

    Comment by M Anderson — 27 November 2007 @ 10.35 pm | Reply

  12. […] More power to Scotland is a good thing I think, but if not accompanied by English devolution only increases the unfairness of the West Lothian question. On the plus side I don’t believe it will stop support for independence. Just like devolution didn’t stop calls for independence and the Nats now form the biggest party. Give them more power and, if they use it well, they’ll ask for and get more. Good luck to the SNP. It seems the English question will only be solved by default. Anyway I’ll be watching the interview to see whether Gordon can say England. […]

    Pingback by Brown on Politics Show on Devolution « The Secret Person — 17 February 2008 @ 10.18 am | Reply

  13. MclAREN SAID:

    “The Barnett Formula may arguably be a form of compensation for the theft of Scottish North Sea Oil, which if controlled by Scotland would bring in much more money than she is currently given by the UK government. This is one of many reasons that the Union is not fair on Scotland and only serves to hold her back from being the properous nation that she should be. Norway is currently the most prosperous country in the world and there is no reason Scotland can not follow in Norways footsteps.”

    Theft of north sea oil? So when will the Shetlanders and Orcadians get THEIR oil back seeing as it is theirs and not scotlands?
    It is funny that you mention Norway. Norway is the country you hypocritical scots stole the Orkneys off.
    What about the shetlands? Go to this link for a conversation about Shetland independence. It’s hilarious because it’s run by an English (Essex) man. What is really funny about it is the fact that his surname is Stuart!
    http://www.shetlandconversation.com/

    Whilst i’m on the subject maybe Mr Mclaren should read about the English settlement of Orkney and Shetland. I am sure he’ll enjoy reading about that.
    http://www.birlinn.co.uk/book/details/Early-English-Settlement-of-Orkney-and-Shetland–The-9781904607755/
    http://john-donald.birlinn.co.uk/articles/details/41/

    Originally inhabited by neolithic tribes and then by the Picts, Orkney was invaded and finally annexed by Norway in 875 and settled by the Norse. It was subsequently re-annexed to the Scottish Crown in 1472, following the failed payment of a dowry agreement. The people on Orkney are not scottish.

    Just as an aside here is a link to a list of areas with the highest amounts of “uk” so-called welfare ghettos. All but one are in England. This has happened because of scottish extortion via the criminally inclined ex-chancellor, i.e. Gordon Brown the scotsman.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/560367/revealed-britains-welfare-ghettos.thtml

    I am not surprised scots claim that scotland is richer than England. You stole, and continue to steal, our money! Really though, you scots need to stop being hypocrites. Give the Shetlands and Orkneys their self determination. It is only right. Really, if you scots are going to waffle on about Berwick then you need to do the right thing by Shetland and Orkney. I wonder what the Norse in the shetlands and Orkneys would do with all that oil and gas? Get rich I guess.

    Comment by M Anderson — 29 March 2008 @ 3.34 am | Reply

  14. As they say, the editors (i.e. me) are not responsible (I am, but I’ll only censor spam and really offensive comments) for all the views expressed on this site, M. Anderson! I think ‘stealing’ is a bit strong: strong-arming or procuring by force majeure I’ll accept – OK, ‘stealing’ is more plain honest Anglo-Saxon, I agree!

    And as for the national / cultural identity of the Orcadians and Shetlanders, I’m not sure what they themselves would say. Why aren’t they asked in a referendum whether they’d like to become the ‘Dubai of the North’ (hey, I ought to copyright that, that’s rather catchy!). But no, such a referendum might set a dangerous precedent – foolish of me to forget that: got to protect the integrity of Scotland (correction, the Union) at all costs, haven’t we?

    Comment by David — 29 March 2008 @ 4.15 am | Reply

  15. […] sight of the Union Jack simply left me cold. This is not the fault of sport, but of politics. Of politicians who won’t say England, of broadcasters who think team GB is made of Welsh, Scottish and British people, and of […]

    Pingback by Olympics - Nationality and Identity « The Secret Person — 26 August 2008 @ 8.08 am | Reply

  16. Take Andy Murray-

    When he starts wimbledon he is Scottish… When he is winning a game he is British… When he is losing a game or does a negative move he is Scottish… When he does a good move he is British… When he progress through the ranks he is British… When he gets put out he is Scottish.

    In my opinoun this is worse than Gordon Brown simply adressing all his constituents! They are all potential voters and they are all equal, they are all British! You wanting him to refer to England is your ignorance.

    Who gives a crap?

    (To give me abuse visit me at http://www.colinbloginit.blogspot.com)

    Comment by Colin — 11 August 2009 @ 9.41 am | Reply

    • Ask Scots like Andy Murray whether they prefer to be called Scottish or British, and they’ll tell you ‘Scottish’; so the media should call him such whether he’s winning or losing. I’m sure Gordon Brown has no issues about being referred to as Scottish or about uttering the word ‘Scotland’; but in 99% of cases, ‘England’ gets translated by GB as ‘Britain’, and ‘English’ as ‘British’ (unless he’s referring to the Bank of England or the English language).

      When he can’t avoid mentioning the ‘E’ word, he does it with a wince or an audible gulp of distaste. And yet the man’s the prime minister of England in most of what his government does, as the majority of legislation and policy his government comes out with relates to no other part of the UK other than England. And yet he’s not elected by any English constituent and isn’t accountable to England. The only way he can pretend to represent England is by assimilating it lock, stock and barrel to a homogeneous ‘Britain’ of which Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland are somehow both a part and apart: having the privilege to define a separate identity that is denied to England.

      The guy would rather England did not exist and was simply ‘Britain’. But he doesn’t apply the same standards to his own country, to which he should jolly well return (putting it nicely); because we’ve certainly never chosen him to be the PM of ours.

      Comment by David — 11 August 2009 @ 4.43 pm | Reply

  17. it doesnt matter is scotland get north sea oil because england and wales will get the falkland oil which is worth more then north sea oil..

    Comment by bob — 1 December 2009 @ 11.02 pm | Reply


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